How One Small Typo Landed Us Our Off Grid Land For Half Price

Imagine finding the perfect piece of remote land to build your off grid home on. 

Then find out it’s priced all wrong!

So, you’ve just found several acres of thick pines, maples trees, ferns and wildlife. All with its own private lane directly off of a seldom travelled gravel road.

This was exactly what our property was like. Plus, it had eighty feet of freshwater lakefront that faces exactly south (perfect for solar) and a nearby steam that burbled in the background.

It’s exactly the plot of land we’d been looking for and we won’t waste a second to put some money down to secure it before anyone else can.

This is the lakeside view.


We took several photos of the property, trees and lake to show our daughter back home.

We were giddy in the car as we drove home to call our realestate agent to put in an offer.

Nothing was going to stop us from snapping up this little slice of heaven to build our off grid home on.

Or was it?

The Advertising Blunder Heard Around Nova Scotia

Just when we thought we snagged the piece of land we wanted, for a price we thought was outstanding, our real estate agent Melanie called us to say

Sorry guys, but the land was priced incorrectly online. 

They were asking $19,900 for 3.5 acres of waterfront property and it was actually “supposed” to be advertised for $39,900!

We did think it strange that each of the adjacent properties were priced at $39,000 and all the smaller blocks of land that didn’t have water access were priced at $19,900.

That’s our property outlined in the green below.


Our hearts sank immediately.

That extra $20k would pay for the entire cabin and then some.

In fact, our building materials cost came to a grand total of $12,681.93 which you can download if you like. 

Want The Complete Building List & Cost For Our Cabin?


We asked our realestate agent to do some digging and also contacted an amazing lawyer friend that had helped us in the past, when we purchased our on grid home. 

We got some news that completely changed everything!

Here we are parked at the Land For Sale sign on our property.


The Advertising Blunder Heard Around Nova Scotia

Turns out that because we had put money down to hold the property, based on the “LISTED PRICE”, there was nothing the selling agent was able to do but honour the blunder and offer us the land for the advertised price.

However, if at any point we decided not to purchase the property, if the financing fell through, or we didn’t meet the initial payment deadline the price would automatically increase to $39,900. 

Either way…


Owning A Piece Of The Planet

There’s something inexplicably amazing about wandering around your own piece of the planet and exploring places people have never been before.

The Off Grid Cabin Land Day 1

Especially, knowing you’re about to put down some off the grid roots and make this place your very own for generations to come.

Although we’ve been out to our property several times to pick the best spot to build our cabin,  we’ve probably seen just 5%-10% of the total 3.5 acres we now owned.


Clara and Mireille Barnes Off The Grid Land

The Off Grid Cabin Build Site Land Yet To Be Cleared

Want a complete cost breakdown of our 24ft x 20ft off grid home including the building materials list?


3.5 acres really doesn’t look like much on Google Earth. Once you’re out there wandering through the woods it gets real big real fast.

I’ll discuss some other online tools below that can help find off grid land. Some tools can show you the best solar exposure angles to take advantage of the sun in that particular location.

Let’s take a look at the property we’ve secured and exactly why we wanted it.

Why We Choose this Particular Land

We decided there were several things we wanted and some we didn’t for the land we were going to purchase.

We made up a list before we started looking around in order to keep us on track and away from properties that quickly didn’t meet our requirements.

TIP: It’s a good idea to create a list of the things you do and don’t want for your off grid property.

List icon

If you’re going to be building a home there, even if it’s a weekend getaway, you’ll probably have it for decades to come. Not to mention that you’re potentially investing tens of thousands on your off grid land/build and you want to make certain you’ve got the land that works best for your particular needs.

The Must Have List For Our land

Here’s our off grid land “must haves” list.

  • There had to be access to a lake
  • The size had to be at least 3 acres
  • We wanted no adjacent neighbors
  • An existing access road would be a bonus
  • The price had to be right (more about that below)
  • Should be less than an hour drive from our on grid home
  • Good southern exposure and property alignment for solar panels
  • We would like to have waterfront property with a view of that lake
  • We wanted plenty of trees for privacy, wind protection and firewood

The Price: We had a recent lump sum of money available to make our off grid adventures happen sooner than later.

If you weren’t aware of our story, I had just been medically released from the military due to thyroid cancer. Part of the reason we wanted to go off grid was to put some distance between our family and the cancer treatment center.

To make a very long story short, the military accepted 100% responsibility for my cancer and with my release from the Forces came a monetary settlement.

We used that money to buy the land, purchase our building materials, an ATV to plow the roads in winter, our solar system and lastly most of the amenities we have inside the cabin.

Some Additional Tips To Consider When Shopping For Off Grid Land

Here are a couple extra items you may want to include on your list when shopping for land.

  • Would you ever want to drill a well?
  • Test the cellular reception in that area
  • What is the ground like below the overburden?
  • Do you want to utilize natural building materials?
  • Decide if you would ever want to have power put in
  • Always walk the land before you get your heart set on it
  • Talk to people that live nearby and ask them about the area
  • Don’t always trust the satellite view from Google Earth or Bing
  • Know the local building codes, zoning, covenants, ordinances and HOAs
  • Have an understanding of the local climate (wind, sun, rain, humidity, snow)

Your ideal off grid land may well be quite different from the next person, but if you’re going to be generating your own power, you’ll want plenty of sun or wind.

If you want rooftop solar like we have, you’ll want the optimum tilt angle for your solar panels. That can depend on your roof style and particular latitude.

You can use Google Earth to find your Latitude

In the US you might use something like to find areas which are better suited for power generation. They have in-depth information at a glance an offer tons of demographic, geographic, and climatological options when searching for locations. They also have small topography maps, tables, maps, charts and graphs with more information than you could ever possibly use.

Here’s an example of the average annual climate in Williams, Arizona